Des Kelly OBE | Residential Forum Trustee | 24 December 2020 writes a seasonal blog:
The AGM of The Residential Forum was held on 21 December – by Zoom of course! Maybe it was because members haven’t meet this year but there was an interesting discussion reflecting on events of 2020 and how they have impacted the social care sector, and in particular care homes, across the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant effect on care homes resulting in a substantial number of deaths. Throughout the year the media coverage of care homes has been greater than I can ever remember it being. From the PPE debacle and the on-going difficulties relating to families visiting it seems care homes have hardly been out of the news this year. Occasionally there have been more considered pieces on TV, radio and in the press about the role of care homes and their relationship to the NHS. Arguably there may even be a greater understanding of the difference between residential and nursing care as a result. There has also been consideration of the differences experienced by care homes in different countries of the UK.
The consequence of care homes being at the frontline in the pandemic has brought the need for considerable new guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care along with concerns from providers and others about how long it has sometimes taken for information to be published, the ease of use or its application to practice. At the Residential Forum meeting members, variously involved in residential care, reflected on ‘things we know to be true’. I have found myself still thinking about ‘things we know to be true’ hence this blog which is my immediate response to comments. I’ve constructed them to suit the season:
Twelve days of Christmas!
- ‘Positive choice’ is a prerequisite to protecting quality of life
- The notion of ‘home’ may be complex but sense of belonging and community is readily understood
- People who rely on care and support services are central to the way services are both planned and experienced
- Family carers are vital partners
- People receiving care and support in care settings, and their families, require comprehensive information and access to professional assessment
- Care staff deserve to be appropriately valued and rewarded
- Providing care and support is a professional role
- Training and continuing learning opportunities are essential to improving quality care outcomes
- The quality of leadership and management really matters to good services
- Regular checks on services to evaluate their effectiveness and satisfaction are a necessary part of quality assurance
- Maintaining links and relationships are an indicator of a good service
- Reform of the social care system across the UK is overdue!
I realise now that I have written down these ‘things we know to be true’ that each could very easily be a theme for a blog. They are a reminder too that over the years the Residential Forum has produced many publications and held many events intending to influence best practice and the ‘things we know to be true’ have arisen plenty of times. So, these are my first twelve – what are yours?